Seb Coe Urges Olympics Postponement

Though Coe competed in the Moscow ’80 Olympics, winning a gold and a silver, he knows the deep pain a boycott miss brought for many of his peers.

“No one wants to see the Olympic Games postponed but as I have said publicly, we cannot hold the event at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety, and a decision on the Olympic Games may become obvious very quickly. I believe that time has come and we owe it to our athletes to give them respite where we can.”

That’s one crucial portion of a letter sent Sunday from World Athletics head Seb Coe to IOC President Thomas Bach urging postponement of the Tokyo Games from its July 24–August 9 dates in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full Coe letter, made public by Canada’s CBC News, here. (Report continues below)

“We are all managing the situation day by day and increasingly hour by hour,” Coe observed in his message to Bach. Underscoring this point, the IOC’s Executive Board met in emergency session Sunday and afterwards released a statement announcing “the IOC will step up its scenario-planning” for the Games.

Cancellation Not An Option, A 4-Week Deadline

Per Sunday’s statement, “The IOC EB emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.” But a decision must come soon and the IOC is giving itself four weeks to make it: “The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs and IFs in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning.”

Though the current moment is bleak, the IOC statement ended with a hopeful declaration that “at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.” ◻︎